It's a question that I get asked again and again. Why do you keep an art journal?
I equate creating with breathing. It's something that I have to do. I'm compelled and driven to do it. There's something to be said about making and keeping art in book form vs. hanging it on the wall, selling it, etc...
Years ago when I found out that there was more than one way to keep a journal, I quickly became hooked. I like the idea of having a permanent record of how one evolves not only as an artist but also as a human being. We're constantly changing (hopefully for the better) so it's nice to be able to see it, to be able to hold it in your hands. (I date all of my pages so that I can see how I've changed be it a week, month, year, etc...) It's interesting to go back periodically and see your pages in a new light. (I don't believe in good or bad pages. My feeling is that as long as they're authentic and you keep it real, they're all good.)
I use my art journal as a place to experiment, explore, process and document. It's my playground. It's my safe place to ask myself, "What if I try this?" I use it to vent, to process and to dialogue. At times I really don't know what I'd do without it.
I don't need to feel inspired or to glean a bit from some invisible muse to want to work in my journal. I crack my book open and start working in it. I struggle sometimes but I force myself to work through the struggle. I'm more interested in asking questions with myself and trying to answer them on the page than I am with pretty, perfect pages. I like the push pull that comes with working in an art journal. There's a certain freedom there. I'm making art for ME. I'm not making art to sell. I'm not making art to hang on the wall. I don't care what other folks think about what I show and express on the pages. I do care about what *I* think when I'm done with a page. I always try to ask myself if I've said and shown everything that's going through my head at the moment. If I can honestly say yes then I'll move on. If I can't, I'll push and pull some more until I can't do anything else with it. Then I turn the page and move on (after all, I have a whole book to finish.)
It's not a fad for me nor is it a craft. It's a passion and a driving force for me. Working in an art journal keeps me happy and sane. It's helped to open my eyes on how I see myself and the world around me. I can't imagine my life without it.